12 Unique Design Books That Show the Pure Beauty of Mathematics

13 min readSep 22

In his 1969 book, The Science of the Artificial, Herbert Simon defines design as “To design is to devise courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones.” To move away from the thing at hand to one chosen, the chosen one can’t simply be functional, and it has to also appeal to the eye. We can say that things that are functional yet appealing have good designs.

All of the brilliant designers I have had the opportunity to meet had vast imaginations and significant aesthetic concerns. Furthermore, all of them had interests in geometry and mathematics. Spending my best days in Istanbul, the designers at the agency I worked at had coffee one day. One of them told me, “When we are designing, we deal with mathematics and geometrical shapes.” That made me immeasurably happy, as a person with a fantastic imagination and knack for the design had stated the opposite of the stereotype of “mathematics is a harsh, mechanical and soulless science” that ordinary people had come up with.

David Hilbert, one of the best modern mathematicians, thought similarly as well. In David Darling’s, The Universal Book of Mathematics, there is a memory of David Hilbert that is recalled. When he asks about the fate of a student who hadn’t attended lectures for a long time, it is said that the student left his mathematics education to become a poet. In response to this, Hilbert stated, “He made the right decision because he lacked the imagination to be a mathematician.”

When many think about mathematics and design, they remember what has become a household idea, the golden ratio. This is very natural. By nature, man seeks out the beautiful, and excitingly, the golden ratio is significant for something to be attractive to the human brain.

When one of the leaders in experimental psychology, Gustav Fechner, measured books, buildings, boxes, and thousands of other unrelated rectangular objects, he found that the ratio of the side lengths of the rectangles was very close to the golden ratio. In another experiment, Fencher showed rectangles at different ratios to thousands of people and instructed them to choose one. He found that most people chose the rectangles with side length ratios very close to the golden ratio. As can be seen, the tendency for…


Math Teacher. Content Curator. Soccer player. Maradona fan. Mostly write about the lectures I love to learn better. alikayaspor@gmail.com